Effectively disciplining a toddler can be hard work. Short attention spans, lack of knowledge, short memories...all necessitate repetition, routine, consistency and patience. So does disciplining multiple children of the same age. It's nice to BE PRESENT to SEE who did what, but sometimes I have to rely on instinct, the track record of the child, and my superhuman senses, specifically hearing.
As a discerning mother, with sensitive ears and olfactory abilities, I can recognize certain sounds: breaking glass, the turning of a door knob, the unauthorized whoosh of running water, the shredding of board books, the yowl of the family cat, and the occasional shriek of outrage. I can also smell a poopy diaper at 40 paces.
Keeping my cool, despite nagging, incessant and demanding pressure can be difficult. As moms, we are, by nature, surviving on less-than-ideal amounts of restless sleep, copious amounts of coffee, and oftentimes sheer will to keep our offspring alive. Some days are better than others, but let's be honest, do we ever REALLY have it ALL together? One part or another is usually on fire, and we are hopping to put it out.
When my strong-willed, independent toddler stopped napping, my heart skipped a beat. I finally learned not to force it and give it up after countless stake-outs, re-entries, spankings and there was that time or two when I found she had covered her sleeping sister's face completely with several layers of blankets and pillows. The grace of God, ladies and gentlemen. When she figured out how to open the refrigerator, move chairs to access things out of her reach, unscrew lids and throw the dead bolt on the outside doors I quickly toddler-proofed or eliminated access to things I used to enjoy opening easily, like the toilet lid...and knives.
The key is keeping a couple of steps ahead of them. Ah, the intrepid mind of a toddler! When you graduate from having a walker, to a runner to a climber...the game gets more interesting with each developmental leap. You quickly run out of counter space, every door and drawer has a safety guard and rooms lose whole pieces of furniture. And then, just when you think you have the upper hand, they learn how to defeat your baby-proofing devices, those flimsy pieces of pathetic plastic. They either rip them clean off, or they learn to wear them down until they either lose their adhesive powers or bend loose, and they're smart! So smart!
They learn to lie or tell you what you want to hear, and they are good at it. Sometimes you can play one twin against the other. Other times, they are a united front. They already know how to divide and conquer between their parents, until Jeff and I learned to unite our own super forces. They are TWO! This is one momma who is trusting Jesus to help her raise her babies to know him. I pray for patience and Providence for their daddy and I. We love our two miracles to pieces!